My Weight Loss Progress

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bird, Bird, Goose?

Yesterday the sky poured buckets, so we walked at the mall. It was too muddy today for our forest walk, so we went on one of our favorite paved trails, a 1.8 mile walk around a fishing hatchery pond.  We backtracked part of it, bringing it up to two miles.  

Though surrounded by forest, there is also the pond, where we saw geese, saw a few people fishing, and heard a splash which we think might have been a fish jumping.  My husband saw a turtle slip off a log into the water, but I missed that one. 

I saw a bird no bigger than a monarch butterfly (I think it might have been a juvenile tree swallow.)

We saw some redwing blackbirds.

Best of all, I saw a large white goose herding a clutch of half-grown wild geese.  Or maybe they were half-wild geese.  I wonder how they will fare when they try to mingle in a larger gaggle. Will they be accepted?  Is the white goose accepted and does it fly south with the others?  There is so much I don't know about nature. 

I think the ones I saw had a longer neck than this one. 
The geese I saw seemed darker than the one  below, more like the colors of Canada Geese, but not the black heads of Canada geese, but I don't know for sure. I only got a quick glimpse and didn't have my camera with me.

Geese mate for life, so if the white one isn't accepted, will its wild mate stay behind with it?  If so, will it survive?  Is the white one an albino or a domesticated goose gone wild?  So many questions are raised by one simple walk around the pond.  I found a great website that tells a lot about the behavior of geese. I hope they won't mind if I borrow a few quotes from them.

It is the female who chooses her mate based on his displays of behaviors and how well he demonstrates he can protect her.

Well, this raises a few questions. If the white one was female, how did the brown male feel about being chosen?  Was he thrilled that this exotic larger goose chose him, or was he feeling angst, knowing he would be ostracized?  If the white one was male, how did it demonstrate to the wild female that it could protect her?  How did her parents feel about her mating outside the gaggle?  Or do they even care?  

There seems to be mixed opinions about the viability of hybrid geese. One site I found shows a hybrid Canada/Greylag Goose--With feet that look like ducks!  

The eggs hatch at about the same time, and usually hatch early morning. The young goslings are brooded (kept warm and protected from predators) by the female for several hours following birth and at night for several days. Their parents are highly protective of them and the female will often lift her wing slightly and let them gather under her wing for warmth and security. They go under her wings to seek shelter from the storm, and they rest there at night. She covers them to keep them safe for predators. With a gentle sound from her, the goslings know they are being called to safety, and all scurry under her wings where it is safe. The gander, the father of the goslings, stands watch over the little ones and his mate, very proudly, his strong neck raised high and looking about in all directions, guarding and protecting them all.

I want my mama and daddy!  Sometimes it's just exhausting being all grown up, you know?  I want someone to call me to safety and give me a place to rest. 

Well, there's a possibility my "hybrid" goose is just a snow goose, as they do come in different colors.  If that's the case though, these geese should be in Northern Canada about now, according to National Geographic.

Snow geese are known for their white plumage, but many of them are actually darker, gray-brown birds known as blue geese. These birds were once though to be two separate species, but they have recently been found to be merely two different color morphs of the same bird. A single gene controls the color difference.

On the day after they hatch, both the goose (female) and gander (male) take the goslings to the brood rearing area. Both parents share the responsibility of actively protecting and caring for the young; Canada geese need both parents to raise the goslings. Several family groups rear broods in the same locality. The brood flocks consisting of several families are called crèches. Young geese have flight feathers at about 16 weeks old. All groups of geese families teach the young geese to fly, and they all work together to do this. The parents and young geese start at the top of a hill, run down into the water many times with their wings stretched out. Parents also have the young geese to “run” back and forth in the water with wings stretched out, to practice flying skills. 

I guess it takes a village to raise a gosling!

No comments:

Post a Comment